Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts helped drive his team to victory Saturday (April 2) at the NRA/ACM Celebrity Shoot, held at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was just one of several activities leading up to Sunday's 46th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

"I love the outdoors. I like to hunt, plus this is a great way to get out and show support for our soldiers," said Gary, who is a lifetime member of the NRA. "It's a thrill and honor to be here with these guys, and I feel blessed to be able to be a part of this shoot."

Blake Shelton, who was the host for the Celebrity Shoot, brought in his team to second place. Former Washington Redskins player Dave Butz had the third place team.

Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry was the top country celebrity shooter, and Butz was the top celebrity shooter.

"I've always been involved with the ACM motorcycle ride before, but this year they didn't have it so I'm here with Blake," Troy said when asked what brought him out so early in the morning. "My dad taught me to hunt and fish and taught me firearm safety. I shot trap in high school. It's an activity the whole family can enjoy. I bought my eight-year-old daughter, Kaylee, a pink camouflage rifle and we're going to teach her to use it. We have friends in Alabama who are members of the NRA, and the whole family goes down there and shoots."

Troy sites another reason to be at the event. "It's just a lot of fun to get out and hang out with my friends. We're all out on the road so much that we don't always have time to see each other and visit for awhile."

Many country music artists so enjoy outdoor sports, and most of the singers who talked with The Boot said they had been long-time members of the National Rifle Association.

Vernell Hackett
Vernell Hackett

"I'm not a political guy and I don't know how a lot of the lobbying effort works, but I do know the NRA protects my right to keep and bear arms," Blake told The Boot. "It's important to me to have an organization like that speaking up for me, plus I think guns are real cool."

Craig Campbell said he was at the shoot to support the group effort. "If there's anything I can do here that helps in any way, then it's a good thing," he said. The singer was enjoying his first trip to Las Vegas before attending the ACM awards.

Chuck Wicks says he has supported the NRA since his father told him about the organization. He admits to being a big deer hunter and liking to being in the outdoors. "I usually hunt things that are alive," he said. "It's fun to be out here with everyone, hang out and get to catch up."

The members of the military who were there to help with the celebrity shoot were happy to see some of their favorite country stars turn out for the event.

"It's a great feeling to know that we have their support," said Joseph Evanoff. "I love country music."

Skyler Anderson echoed his friend, adding, "I think it's really cool that they take time to come out here and do this event."

Among those who participated in the event were Luke Bryan, Lee Brice, Sarah Darling, Sunny Sweeney, Craig Morgan, Josh Thompson and Edens Edge.

Many of the artists went on to do a concert following the shooting event for the men and women of the military who are stationed at Ellis Air Force Base.

Vernell Hackett
Vernell Hackett

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